Everyone I was making baby blankets for is going to have (or have had) their babies before they receive said blankets. My neighbor, my cousin, a couple of friends–all have (or are in the middle of having) December babies.

It’s funny, because the world is really a shitty, hard place and you are always thrown into circumstances you can’t do anything about, always on the verge of being crushed by forces you have no control over. But people still choose hope, they still have faith in children and getting together and they still throw in with life.

I find that really meaningful, especially at this time of year, when I am most compelled to hide in a cave armed with nothing more than a pointy stick I can jab at anyone who comes too near.

It’s funny to watch Christmas movies full of Santa Claus, movies with plots in which Santa is powerful, but not so powerful that humans can’t be of help to him. His elves, his reindeer with lightning names and thunder god names, his gift giving, his tree, the mistletoe, all still pulled out from the attic every year and arranged and rearranged into something vaguely Christian, old junk we still find handy, even if we can’t remember why.

It’s hard, sometimes, to make sense of the gods, whether a god like Zeus is Tyr under another name, but if Zeus is the Father god and Odin is the All-father, shouldn’t they be analogous, etc.

But in Santa Claus, you start to get a sense of the truth of it. Santa is certainly not Odin or Thor. But there’s something of them in him. This is one of the ways they came through the years to us, disguised as an old man who comes in when folks are concentrating on Jesus, just pops in the house to remind you that you have not been forgotten by the things you have forgotten.

The dog is old and determined to stick to her routine. She came out to sleep on the couch yesterday morning, even in the middle of the chaos of a young boy on Christmas day. And she slept solidly. And dreamed she was running.

I can’t really say how this has gone–this visit with my family. I just wish things were easier, on all of us. That’s the thing that drives me most nuts about the whole affair. It’s not like I’m so great and they all suck. It’s that the ways we are with each other are often so damn powerful and aren’t always that great. And how we could or if we would all back off and give each other a little breathing room and mercy about it seems impossible to know.

But you have hope anyway. That the next time you try it, something will have moved enough, shifted finally, circumstances will have changed enough that things go better.

But how to change those circumstances?

None of us exactly know.

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